Sometimes the facts are just biased against you

Outspoken scientist dismissed from panel on chemical safety – Los Angeles Times:

Chemical industry lobbyists say Rice’s comments to the Legislature, as well as similar comments to the media, show that she is a biased advocate who has compromised the integrity of the EPA’s review of the flame retardant. The EPA is in the process of deciding how much daily exposure to deca is safe — a controversial decision, expected next month, that could determine whether it can still be used in consumer products. The role of the expert panel was to review and comment on the scientific evidence. EPA officials removed Rice because of what they called “the perception of a potential conflict of interest.” Under the agency’s handbook for advisory committees, scientific peer reviewers should not “have a conflict of interest” or “appear to lack impartiality.”

What they don’t seem to understand is that impartiality doesn’t mean cutting the baby in half just to avoid making a decision. Impartiality means making a decision on the best facts available. Of course, this is the same stupid mistake that most of the mainstream news organizations make, when they assiduously source a bunch of lies and then give equal weight to others telling verifiable truths.

EPA officials were not available for comment Thursday. Environmentalists accuse the EPA of a “dangerous double standard,” because under the Bush administration, many pro-industry experts have served on the agency’s scientific panels. The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, reviewed seven EPA panels created last year and found 17 panelists who were employed or funded by the chemical industry or had made public statements that the chemicals they were reviewing were safe. In one example, an Exxon Mobil Corp. employee served on an EPA expert panel responsible for deciding whether ethylene oxide, a chemical manufactured by Exxon Mobil, is a carcinogen.

Oh, wait. I see. It’s OK to be partial, just as long as you’re partial in the right direction.

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